Category Archives: Flat Roofs

TPO Roofing Pros and Cons – TPO vs. PVC Membrane Cost in 2017-2018

If you are looking for a cost-effective and durable single-ply roofing system for your flat or low-slope roof, a TPO (thermoplastic olefin) membrane may be a solid, energy-efficient option.

TPO-roof-installation

TPO roofing systems are quickly growing in popularity and demand, in both residential and commercial flat roof markets. TPO can provide combined benefits of both, EPDM rubber and PVC roofs, but at a more economical cost than PVC.

While TPO membranes do offer an impressive number of performance, installation, and environmental advantages, because they are still a fairly new product, there are some important considerations you need to be aware of before choosing to install a TPO roof on your home or commercial property.

TPO in a Nutshell

flat-roof

A TPO roofing membrane is made from ethylene propylene rubber. Special technology is used to chemically bind together, rubber, ethylene ( an organic gaseous substance) and propylene (a byproduct of petroleum refining). At the end, numerous filler materials are added, such as talc, carbon filler and fiberglass. These fillers reinforce the TPO membrane’s strength and durability.

A TPO roofing membrane has been specifically designed to have the advantages of a rubber roof, combined with hot – air weldable seams for extra durability. TPO roofing membranes have been manufactured in the US since the early 1990’s and are now the fastest growing segment of the US single-ply roofing industry.

Cost Considerations

A typical residential TPO roof will cost anywhere from $5.00 to $7.50 per sq. ft. installed. Thus, for an average sized 1,200 sq. ft. flat roof, your total average cost for a new TPO roof would range from $6,000 to $8,500.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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TPO Membrane Options

TPO roofs are manufactured to meet a variety of needs and design specifications. They are available in white, light gray, and black colors. White TPO roofs offer the best solar radiant heat reflection properties, hence they are the most popular choice thanks to their energy-saving potential.

Single Ply Membrane on a Residential Flat Roof

For most residential applications, TPO membranes come in two thicknesses options: 45 mils (.045″) or 60 mils (.060″). The width and length of the membrane can vary depending on the manufacturer, with a typical TPO membrane roll being 6 to 6.5 ft wide and 100 ft long.

Other membrane thicknesses and widths are also available depending on the manufacturer, including a 3 feet-wide rolls for the edges of the roof. Commercial grade TPO membranes may have a thicknesses of up to 80 mils (.080″) and may come in up to 12 feet-wide rolls.

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Top 5 Energy Efficient Home Improvements and their Costs – Green Home Ideas

Are your ready to make your home greener and more energy-efficient? If so, consider the following five home improvement upgrades that can be completed by a professional remodeling contractor, as well as by an experienced DIY enthusiast working collaboratively with a handy friend. 😉

1. Cool Roofs Vs. Traditional Asphalt and Dark EPDM Rubber

amazing-custom-home-with-standing-seam-metal-roof

Dark roofs make houses hotter, light roofs make houses cooler. To achieve these benefits a specialist applicator can coat your roof with reflective materials, some of which are applied like paint, sprayed directly on the surface of an existing roof. Of course, this is often, but not always, a one-season solution.

More Info on Cool Roofs: https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-home-design/cool-roofs

Energy conservation wizards are currently working on tiles that will go from light to dark as needed — they can cut the sunlight absorbed into your house by 80% when they are white and slice heating costs by 20% and more when they turn black.

You can find a cool roof coating formulated with acrylic polymers, resins, fillers and titanium dioxide pigments for about $100 for a 4.75 gallon container (Via GreenHomeGuide.com).

If rather than applying it yourself, your would prefer to hire a professional, expect to pay anywhere from a few to several thousands of dollars to properly apply a liquid roof coating. You should know that most liquid roof coatings are only suitable for durable membrane-based flat roofs and aging metal roofs.

Surely, cool liquid roof coatings can also be applied over asphalt shingles, but the results will not be as good, because asphalt shingles have a tendency to chip and crack. Thus, a complete re-roofing application may be a better option for an aged asphalt roof.

Energy Efficient, Solar-Reflective PVC membrane on a flat roof

PVC membrane installed by: New England Metal Roof

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If you have a flat or low-slope roof that is starting to show the signs of age, and may thus require replacement soon, then consider installing one of the following membranes; white, energy-efficient and solar-reflective PVC membrane, TPO membrane, or white EPDM rubber roof. Expect to pay from $4.50 to $6.00 per foot for EPDM rubber membrane installed. A PVC or TPO membrane will cost about $5.50 to $7.50 per square foot installed.

2. Metal

A standing seam metal roof on the house

Today’s metal roofs have come a long way from the tin shacks of yore. Modern metal roofs are as likely to look like cedar shakes or clay tiles or asphalt shingles as sheet metal. A metal roof won’t blow off in hurricane-force winds and is fireproof.

Metal roofs will cost more to purchase and install than traditional asphalt roofs, but will still be on the job half a century from now, while two or three asphalt roofs are clogging landfills. 😉

Steel Shingles Roof

Expect a metal roof comprised of interlocking shingles to run around $3.50 to $4.50 per square foot for materials including trim. With the installation, a metal shingles roof will cost about $7.50 to $10.00 per square foot.

concave-shaped standing seam roof

Materials for galvalume standing seam will cost about $4.50 to $5.00 per square foot. With the installation, a standing seam metal roof will cost about $10 to $12 per square foot, not counting the expense of a roof tear-off.

During winter, an energy efficient metal roof, such as standing seam or metal shingles will help shed the snow off the roof, before the snow has a chance to accumulate. It can thus be an energy-smart and elegant alternative to heat cables and/or snow rakes commonly employed to deal with the ice dams on the roof.

PV Solar Panels on Metal Roof

Speaking of home energy efficiency, another major advantage of a standing seam metal roof is that it is solar roof ready. Meaning that it can be simply and elegantly combined and integrated with PV solar panels by means of simple metal clamps via a bracketing systems attached to the seam. This method does not require drilling any holes (potential future sources of leaks) in the roof

3. Energy Efficient Window

Windows are among the biggest culprits in creating high energy bills. But no one wants to live in a house without windows. Double-pane windows are one solution; they will retain room heat in the winter and prevent heat gain in the summer. At the same time the double-panes will keep your house bright and sunny. And a little quieter as well — the extra layer of glass helps prevent outside noises from penetrating the windows.

Most average-sized double-pane windows will cost anywhere from $500 to $700 installed.

There is more to double-pane windows than two pieces of glass. Low-E glass, filled with argon gas provides the ultimate in insulation over a single-pane window. Expect to pay about $40 extra per window. But more is not always better when it comes to window panes. Triple-panes can be a help in the harshest climates, but they come at a cost of reduced clarity in looking to the world outside.

4. Green Frames

The frames your windows live in are opportunities for the green-minded remodeler. Wood offers the best insulation but may deteriorate prematurely in a rainy climate. Plus, they are going to need new coats of paint every few years. If that means latex paint, that will douse your interior air with a bucket of noxious petrochemicals (there is a reason paint requires special disposal techniques). Eco-safe paints are getting better every year with more durability and a wider variety of people-pleasing colors. And they are less costly at the cash register as well.

It is hard to beat the look of wood on windows and that preference can trump green tendencies when it comes to alternatives such as vinyl or aluminum. Vinyl is budget-friendly (from $450-$600 as opposed to between $800 and $1,000 for the installation of wood windows) and no trees are destroyed, and aluminum can be a good choice in rainy climates.

5. Insulation

attic insulation

Seal and insulate, seal and insulate, seal and insulate. That is the manta of energy-efficiency, but green-minded homeowners can take this basic Eco-friendly chore one step beyond. Spray insulation or traditional batting insulation is loaded with chemicals. Soy foam works the same insulating magic without the environmental downsides.

Home insulation is where the true green converts are separated from the wanna-bes. Closed-cell spray foam is a pricey insulation option, costing between $3.00 and $3.50 a square foot in walls and another $1.00 per square foot for attics. Soy foam will work as well as cheaper and more readily available fiberglass-based batting insulation, but not so much better that it will be a boon to your pocketbook in the long run. You won’t recoup the costs of hidden soy insulation at resale. This is one financial bullet you will be taking for the good of the planet. 😉


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Flat Roof Repair – How to Repair a Leaky Rubber Roof – DIY Guide

This guide covers the basics of flat roof repair, also known as low-slope roof repair, including:

  • Locating the leak
  • Repairing flat roofing
  • Knowing when replacing the roof is a better option
  • The cost of flat roof repair and replacement

EPDM Rubber installed on a flat roof by GemTile

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If your home or building has a flat roof, then you know that water is its major nemesis and leaks must be aggressively addressed with top-quality flat roof repair materials and methods. We explore whether DIY flat roof repair is something you want to attempt or if it makes more sense to hire a professional flat roofing specialist.

These flat roof repair techniques can be used on the most common flat roof materials:

  • EPDM, aka Rubber
  • Modified bitumen
  • BUR (Built up roofing), aka tar and gravel

PVC roof repair

Note: If you happen to have a PVC or TPO roof leak, such as a leaky seam or a hole/puncture caused by a fallen tree branch or an accidental cut, then you will need to find a qualified specialist equipped with all the necessary tools and supplies; a roll of appropriate membrane and a heat air gun. Look for a company specializing in PVC or TPO.

Locating a Flat Roof Leak

While finding a leak in a flat roof is easier than on a steep-sloped, shingled roof, leaks can still be deceiving. Where water enters your interior space might not be exactly where the leak is, because any water that penetrates a roofing membrane can travel for some distance until it finds a seam in the sub-roof or sheathing and seeps inside.

These steps will allow you to isolate the source of the leak, if it isn’t readily evident when you inspect the roof.

  • From inside, measure the distance from where the leak is visible to the two nearest walls.
  • Use those measurements on the rooftop to create a starting point for your search.
  • Most flat roofs are very slightly sloped to facilitate runoff, so explore from the point of the water’s entrance up the slope, since water runs downhill.
  • Look for punctures, popping screws, rips, worn spots, seam separations, blisters and other imperfections in the membrane.
  • If no damage is found in the membrane, examine nearby vent pipe boots, flashing, caulk around vents and similar structures for damage.
  • When you still cannot locate the leak, call a professional flat roof contractor for assistance and repair.

Caution: It’s always smart to respect ladders and heights, so proceed with extreme care! If you can’t access the roof from inside, use a quality ladder rated for more than your weight, and have a strong adult hold the ladder steady for you. If the roof is icy, even greater precaution is required, or a pro should be called in.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Repairing a Minor Flat Roof Issue

Warranties for flat roofs can range from 5 to 20 years. If your roof is under warranty, call the contractor that installed it to make the repair. Even if the warranty is prorated for the age of the roof, you might still save money with pro repair. You’ll have the confidence the job was done correctly and have recourse if it wasn’t.

If the warranty is up, then you can attempt the repair yourself. If it holds, you’ve saved money; If not, you won’t make it worse with the methods we suggest, and a flat roof contractor can repair it.

Rubber Roof Repair Tools:

  • Roofing Seams Probing tool
  • Roofing Hand Roller tool
  • Roofing Membrane Cleaner
  • EPDM rubber glue
  • EPDM peel and stick roofing tape
  • Appropriate Ladder with ladder stabilizer
  • Paint brush used to spread the glue
  • Bucket of warm water and clean towels

Other tools you may need will depend on the roofing system in question and a specific problem you’re repairing. The common tools used for repairs include a utility knife ($3-$6), tube of roofing sealant or cement ($4-$6), a caulk gun ($5-$20), a 2” putty knife or brush ($1-$4) and peel & stick flashing ($35-$125/size of the roll).

EPDM repairs require a few specialty items including EPDM glue ($12/tube or $40/gallon), weathered membrane cleaner for older roofs ($12/quart or $25/gallon) and EPDM/TPO primer ($15/quart or $40/gallon).

EPDM Rubber Roof Repair Kit

Did you know? Rather than trying to get all of the above items individually, you can save a lot of time by getting an all inclusive Rubber Roof Repair Kit here

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